The new British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her cabinet today.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Lure Of Flower's Putrid Essence Draws Crowd

Jul 22, 2013
Originally published on July 22, 2013 9:02 pm



A crowd formed today at the U.S. Botanic Garden here in Washington, D.C. It's a place to see beautiful flowers and usually ones that smell fantastic. But today, one exotic specimen on display was the opposite of that. It's the titan arum and NPR's Allison Keyes tells us people flocked to the greenhouse in hopes of getting a rare whiff of the flower's putrid essence.

ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: From the line and the excited faces of titan arum fans hurrying down the path to the door, you'd think The Beatles were here.

ALISON MILLIGAN: We don't smell anything yet, but we're taking deep breaths.

KEYES: Alison Milligan, a master gardener at the University of Maryland, brought her environmental science major son, Kyle, and she's psyched for the giant flower and its legendary smell.

MILLIGAN: It's better than a comet, right, for me.

KYLE: We heard it smells really bad, so we're kind of here to just smell it.

KEYES: High school students Alexis Hernandez(ph) and Ariana Simmons(ph) were attracted by the hype. Who wouldn't want to see a flower that looks like a giant finger jutting straight up wearing a tasteful frilly collar gilded with a rich maroon on the inside.

ALEXIS HERNANDEZ: Yeah, I want to see the smell and I want to see how pretty it is. And since it's so ancient, it's like a time thing.

KEYES: The titan arum was first discovered in 1878. It's native to the tropical rainforest on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. This one is eight feet tall and weighs about 250 pounds. The so-called corpse flower smells so bad so it can attract bugs to pollinate it. Fans have been watching a live stream for a week waiting for it to bloom.

It finally did last night. Some who had been waiting with flared nostrils now had furrowed brows, like Ariana Simmons.

ARIANA SIMMONS: It doesn't smell.

KEYES: Clearly, there is consternation.

SIMMONS: I just wanted it to stink. That's all I wanted.

KEYES: But Simmons and her friend, Alexis Hernandez, say at least it's big and pretty.

HERNANDEZ: So we're kind of disappointed, but it's okay.

BILL MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, man, you missed it.

KEYES: Bill McLaughlin is the plant curator with the U.S. Botanic Garden and did get to smell the titan before the stomach-turning aroma faded away.

MCLAUGHLIN: I couldn't eat dinner till about 11:00 p.m. after I left.

KEYES: You couldn't have saved us some of the smell?

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, if only we could bottle it up.

KEYES: But it opened around 6:00 last night and he says it smelled really strong by 7:30.

MCLAUGHLIN: It really does smell like a dead animal carcass.

KEYES: And then, the odor dissipated in the large room. A disappointed Stephanie Kirkendall(ph) has been coming here from Maryland every day for a week and stood in front of the plant looking a little sad.

STEPHANIE KIRKENDALL: I'm really here for the smell. Not the flower, I want the smell.

KEYES: So you're all about Amorphophallus.

KIRKENDALL: Yes. Well, yeah. Yes. I never looked at it that way, but yeah, it is a beautiful plant.

KEYES: And she's in denial about having missed the aroma.

KIRKENDALL: I'll come back this afternoon and I'll come back tomorrow and I'll just keep coming back until I get a whiff.

KEYES: If you just want a glimpse instead, you better hurry. Titan arum only stays open for 24 to 48 hours before it collapses. Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.